>> welcome to the "journal" coming to you live on dw. >> coming up in the next half- hour -- >> the message at the vatican as christmas is celebrated around the world. >> syrian activists say least a dozen people have died after another deadly air strike on people waiting outside a bakery. >> winter bites hard in russia. siberia's move to emergency shelters as more than 100 people lose their lives -- siberia inspect -- siberians move to emergency shelters. do not ever lose hope for peace -- that is the message from the pope this christmas. >> pope benedict delivered his twice yearly address from the balcony of st. peter's basilica today. the pontiff touched on political themes as well, calling for
peace in syria and appealing to italians to embrace the spirit of cooperation in upcoming elections. >> tens of thousands of people showed up in st. peter's square to hear benedict's message, and millions to and in worldwide. >> tens of thousands of people turned out to hear the pope's christmas message. the square erupted in applause as the pontiff stepped out to address the crowd. he revisited one of the themes of his christmas eve message -- the wish for peace in the middle east. turning and i to syria, he called for an end to the conflict -- turning an eye to syria. the pope appealed to those responsible to stop the bloodshed and slaughter of innocent people. he called for dialogue in order to find a political solution to the conflict. the pope then delivered a
christmas message in 65 languages. >> remind the world that true happiness lies in their hearts with hope and joy, for the savior has been born for us. >> for many in the audience, hearing the message in their own language was an obvious highlight. then came the blessing -- to the city and to the world. >> we are joined now in our studio by our religious affairs correspondent. it has been a busy year for the pope and the catholic church. >> it has indeed. it started off in february when he appointed 22 new cardinals, all europeans, to correct, as he saw it, the imbalance in the
college of cardinals, created by his predecessor, john paul ii, who appointed a lot of latin americans. the pope wanted to restore the balance, as he saw it. then, of course, although he is 86 or will be in april, he said he was not going to travel much. in fact, he traveled quite a bit. he was in mexico, in cuba. he went to lebanon, celebrated a mass just 80 kilometers from where the fighting was. it has been a very busy year. and he published the third volume of his study in jesus christ. >> last night on christmas eve, the pope made one, that caught a lot of people's eyes, which was about technology, quite critical comments about technology, which seemed quite a bit odd, given that he has only just started using twitter. >> he is not opposed to technology, as such. he is actually quite charming in his use of it -- for example, twitter. i think he is drawing attention
to something that concerns a lot of people, not just catholics or christians, and that is that in the revolution, the information revolution that we are living through, the past 30 years or so, we are all of us experiencing the increasing pace of that revolution that is putting people in distress. we experience it has individuals with the phenomenon is burned -- phenomenon of burnout, which is virtually epidemic in the western world. of course, for society, it has a very serious repercussion, mainly that a society where everybody feels overloaded and cannot cope with how much they are being asked to do, it becomes a very uncaring society, a very egotistical society, and ultimately carries the seeds of its own destruction within itself. that was his message. >> what struck you about his message today, christmas day? >> i thought it interesting that he highlighted specifically the conflict in syria. he had mentioned last night various trouble spots around the world, mentioning them individually, but he mentioned syria, then again today.
he was, as i say, i 11 on last year -- earlier this year, where there is a large christian community. there are also christians in syria, and i think that is also an indication to me that vatican diplomats are working behind the scenes at the moment, probably very actively trying to secure a political settlement in syria. >> thanks very much for joining us. as you have just heard, the pope called for peace in syria, but in the country, the prospect of peace looks bleak. >> the united nations envoy is extending his trip to damascus until sunday. that is after making very little progress in talks with president assad, and with some members of the opposition. >> meanwhile, more lives have been lost. opposition activists say more than 30 people were killed across the country on christmas day, but the syrian army accused of bombing yet another bakery, this time in the heart of the country.
>> this amateur footage is said to show the destruction at a bakery. the man seen here blames president assad for the attack, calling it another massacre. opposition activists say a government warplane fired on civilians while they were waiting to buy bread. at least 15 people were reported killed. the fighting continues to rage in other parts of the country. in the northern province of aleppo, rebels said they have shifted their strategy. they have been surrounding military bases and airports loyal to the regime, but the army has kept up the pressure. this unverified video is said to show a government attack on a suburb of damascus. it is relatively calm in the
capital itself, but for the city's christian community, there is little festive spirit to be felt during the holiday. >> this christmas, i am praying for syria. you cannot feel the christmas atmosphere this year. we hope next year will be better. >> security concerns have put a damper on the celebrations, and midnight mass was rescheduled for the afternoon. christians there said they prayed for peace in their city. >> now, reports from cassocks and say that a military transport plane has crashed in the south of the country, killing at least 27 people -- reports from kazakhstan. the plane disappeared from radar as it was about to make its descent. the plan reportedly belonged to the country's national security service. >> the official results are out. voters in each of how overwhelmingly approved a new
islamist-drafted constitution. election officials say the referendum garnered a yes vote of almost 64%, but they also confirm that turnout was only 1/3 of egypt's 51 million voters. the election commission also rejected opposition claims of polling irregularities. the constitution, backed by president morsi, and his muslim brotherhood party, has divided egypt. opponents say it neglects the rights of women and minorities and vowed to contest it. and egypt has imposed currency restrictions on the amount of hard cash people can bring into or out of the country. no one will be allowed to carry more than $10,000. officials are worried about a rush by egyptians to withdraw their savings. the central bank has spent billions propping up the egyptian pound since the popular uprising that toppled president mubarak in 2011. the protests have worsened its economic position, driving away tourists and investors, stopping growth and pushing up the state
deficit. that israel has approved the construction of 940 new homes -- >> israel has approved the construction of 940 new homes on the outskirts of jerusalem. for palestinians, the land as part of east jerusalem, which would serve as the capital of a future state. they say settlements there violate international law, but israel says it is an integral part of jerusalem, which it sees as its own capital. israel has been pressing ahead with plans to expand settlements since the palestinians were granted observer status at the u.n. to russia has put in place the last section of an oil pipeline from eastern siberia to the pacific. that is a link up that is now almost 5,000 kilometers long. >> the massive project is russia's oil fields direct access to key markets in japan, south korea, taiwan, the philippines, and the usa.
>> after six years of construction and around 21 billion euros, the pipeline is complete. russia hopes it will be able to expand sales into the u.s. market. it also wants to sell more into southeast asia. the pipeline goes 2,700 kilometers. oil has been flowing from there to china since 2010. now, the final section has been completed. from there, it can be shipped out. until now, the oil was transported along this last leg by train. that had a limited capacity of 15 million barrels of oil per year. the new pipeline can carry three times that amount. it is part of russia's plan to reduce its reliance on europe, which currently buys about 87% of the country's oil exports. during price talks with europe, russia has also -- often said it would seek other buyers and
focus more on asian buyers. >> china's biggest producer of so-called rare earths has suspended output at some of its plants for another month as part of an effort to push up prices. >> rare earths are a group of elements crucial for making high-tech gadgets like smartphones and ipads, and they're mostly found in china, giving producers a handle on the market. and despite that, prices are falling. >> rare earths are, in china, but many minds in mongolia have fallen silent. state media says that will not change or at least another month. the country's biggest roberts player is trying to stop falling prices. as the world's biggest rare earths supplier, has plenty of power on the market. chinese companies -- of 97% of the global share of rare earths.
the u.s. share is much smaller by comparison, as is russia's. rare earths prices have been diving, due to flagging demand. one of the biggest buyers of the elements was the solar industry, which is facing problems of its own. technology companies have been searching for substitutes. to reduce their dependence on chinese suppliers. >> well, it has certainly been a winter of extremes here in europe. temperatures have climbed to record highs in the west and plunged to bitter lows in the east. >> it has become one of the biggest -- the bitterest winters russia has seen. the severe cold snap has claimed the lives of well over 100 people with more than 1700 seeking treatment for exposure. >> the plows are making slow progress. road crews in eastern siberia are struggling to clear meters
of snow. in many areas, travel is all but impossible. with extreme temperatures down to -60, people are staying indoors for their own safety, but even at home, they are having difficulties. >> we have nothing here, not even water. we have to melt snow from the garden. it is freezing here. we have subzero temperatures in our homes. in the kitchen even with the still burning, it is - 5. >> in southern siberia, severe frosts have crippled one of the city's heating plants. >> we've spent two nights in the school. conditions are good. it is warm, and there's food. >> but space at shelters is scarce. not everyone has access. the elderly and homeless are especially vulnerable. >> we are going to take a short
break in just a moment, but after that, we will be taking a look back at some of the big cultural moments of the year here in germany, and those include some quite big controversies. >> the nobel prize in literature awarded to the chinese author was particularly controversial. the author has been criticized for not speaking out about censorship in china as well as the country's treatment of dissidents. >> a german writer also sparked a row through his criticism of israel in one of his poems. >> you might have seen the german film "barbara." it wanted a video awards. more on that after a short break. >> do not go away.
>> welcome back. thousands of syrians have been fleeing the violence in their country, many seeking refuge in camps across the turkish border. like there has become increasingly hard, due to the extreme harsh weather conditions. >> apart from big aid organizations, small relief organizations are also trying to collect funds. we met one young man also trying to collect in berlin. >> pounding the pavement of the german capital, he wants to convince berliners to donate money to syrian refugees. many of them are freezing in camps on the turkish border. >> if you do have the chance to help, you could consider making a small donation. you could save a life there. >> he was born in lebanon. he is quick to strike up a conversation. he speaks german and arabic, and even a little turkish. >> people are ready to help,
regardless of where they are from, and because the situation in syria is so rough, you notice that people do want to help out. >> he and his colleagues but that funding toward helping people more than 3,000 kilometers away on the syrian border with turkey. the money they collect in germany pays for crucial supplies, including groceries, clothing, and medicine. >> unfortunately, the situation there is still bad. it has gotten even worse in some places. when the winter arrives, only god can help. >> the islamic relief agency raises most of its money from muslims. all in all, people in germany have donated 600,000 euros to assyrian refugees since august. but relief workers need much more. >> the donations will never be penough. just imagine -- more than 3 million, 4 million, or 5 million
people have fled. there are a lot of different estimates. they have left their homes, and some have even left the country. not even 1 million or 10 million euros can help. >> all the same, he wants to keep raising funds. he is already planning his next trip to the syrian border for early 2013. >> helping those in need was also underscored by the german president in his first christmas message to the nation. he reminded germans that their country had not been hit as badly by the financial crisis as some other european countries. >> he also talked about the importance of tolerance in everyday life and called on germans to open up to helping others. >> yes, we want our country to show solidarity, a country that opens doors to a good life for the young and makes room for the elderly.
an african mother at a refugee center recently put her baby in my arms. indeed, we will never be able to take in everybody who comes here. but we want to welcome with open hearts of those who are persecuted and grant them asylum and be good to immigrants, whom our country needs. >> the german president there. in a moment, a new scheme to try to get weapons off the streets of mexico. >> but first, a look at some other stories making news. at least two people were killed and 10 injured when a plane made an emergency landing in burma. authorities say foreign tourists were on board the aircraft. the plane came down in burma and reportedly missed the runway due to heavy fog. >> two fires in the philippine capital have left at least eight
people dead. one broke out in a row of old apartments. seven people died after the blaze trapped them in that building. elsewhere, a fire in a slum left about 2000 families homeless. one man was killed there in riots that erupted after the blaze. >> and indian policeman has died from injuries he sustained during anti-rape protest in delhi. the officer was cremated with full state honors. he was one of dozens injured in violent protests triggered by the gang rape of a student. witnesses say he was severely beaten and pelted with stones. >> venezuelan officials say that president hugo chavez's health is improving. supporters attended service in caracas to pray for his health.
in the past six years, more than 60,000 people have lost their lives in mexico as a result of the drug wars. and now in addition to combating crime, authorities want to address the culture of violence which seems to have become part of everyday life in some areas. >> they have launched a gun buyback scheme aimed at getting people to turn in their weapons. >> they are family heirloom, but this woman is giving them up. authorities are offering cash and other items in a bid to convince people to hand back their weapons. >> they are a danger, especially with all the violence we are experiencing during these times, so we have to get rid of them. >> one of the largest and poorest districts of mexico city. drugs, shootings, and youth gangs are all too familiar reappear in monday, authorities said about 100 weapons had been collected, a small victory for a new initiative called "for your family, disarm voluntarily."
>> the main objective is to prevent accidents, to prevent violence against citizens. it is very common that in households that have firearms, children may find them and cause problems. >> but far from mexico city, a weapons buy back scheme would likely have little impact. the country's drug cartels are engaged in a bloody war here. the government has sent in the army, but the killing continues. in the past two days, more than a dozen people have died in violence. >> finally, as promised, it is time to take a look back at some big moments in the cultural year in germany. >> a row that was sparked by one of the country's greatest living writers, these moments have in common a link between
art and politics. >> to pick up the year, the silver bear at the berlin all went to a director for "barbara." >> i am so happy. this is amazing. >> it is a love story about a young woman, but it is also much more. set in the former east germany were the secret police followed people's every move, the film asks how living in an authoritarian regime affects people emotionally. in a system where and foreman's were everywhere, distrust was widespread. barbara wants to escape east germany, but several important encounters challenge her resolve. the film explores the subtle and haunting mechanisms of power. in april, one german writer sparked controversy when he criticized israeli politics in a poem titled "what must be said." his portrayal of israel as an aggressor was seen as a scandal. >> tomorrow, it could be too late to say what must be said.
>> he also trivialize the role of iranian president ahmadinejad, who denies the holocaust, calling him a loudmouth. worldwide condemnation followed. israel declared him persona non grata and banned him from traveling to the country. it raised questions -- is the nobel prize-winning author in need and an anti-semite or simply an unconventional thinkers? >> he always did have a problem with israel in a political sense, and he has a very unfortunate self-referential, often embarrassing way of uttering that critique. >> in june, carol and embarked on a mission here the curator of one of the world's most important art festivals put together a show with the green field. seldom has art been so ego friendly. she also brought social art. unemployed americans renovated an old house, turning it into an open laboratory for ideas and
activities. >> the foreboding a failure. and would be a theoretical, confusing, very politically correct and boring show. but it turned out to be a clever, highly political but still entertaining discovery of what contemporary art can be today. a real crowd pleaser for that matter. them in october, the chinese author and the senate received a prestigious peace prize of the german but trade, a political decision on the part of the jury. the lives in exile and is a scathing critic of china's human-rights record. by contrast, the nobel committee's decision to honor chinese author mo yan with the literature prize was far more controversial. he is silent on the subjects of censorship and oppression. he sees himself simply as a storyteller who writes about the
lives of farmers and other ordinary people. he refrained from open criticism. >> it is all about the old dilemma. do you have to be a rebel? do you have to be a dissident or go into exile, or is it possible to compromise? it is not an easy case to plead here, and yet, i am fairly certain, he is not an unworthy laureate. >> chinese artist ai wei wei called the win tragic. >> recapping our top stories, the polk delivered his christmas day message, appealing for peace in syria and asking people to make more time for got in their lives -- the pope.